Spinach Cannellini Bean Dip

Today the whole family went off-island for my appointment with an orthopaedic specialist, where I learned that I have unusually flexible feet. This is apparently a good thing. I am now wondering whether my feet might be extra bendy because I prefer to go barefoot whenever possible, a habit that Alex and I picked up largely out of necessity (for the sake of proper etiquette) while living in Japan and have continued in our home here.

When I googled “flexible feet” in the car on the way home (don’t worry, not while driving), I discovered an entire movement called barefooting. It’s really fascinating, and what I’ve read so far actually makes good sense. According to Wikipedia, barefooters believe that walking–and even running–without shoes is “healthier for feet and reduces risk of chronic injuries, notably repetitive stress injuries due to the impact of heel striking in padded running shoes.” They also claim that shoes restrict proper circulation, leading to cold feet, but that barefooters’ feet stay warm even in cold weather, because they have superior blood flow.

I’m admittedly a bit of a wimp and not ready to try barefooting outside of the house yet (except on luscious sandy beaches or soft green grass), but I will definitely continue to go without shoes indoors, and now I know that I am actually doing my feet a favor by doing so!

The other thing I learned from the podiatrist is that the reason the top of my left foot has been hurting for many weeks now is an aggravated extensor digitorum brevis (EDB) muscle. This muscle apparently has to work incredibly hard to stabilize feet that are flexible to the point of over-pronation (or rolling to the inside), which mine do. It can also be irritated by over-supination (rolling to the outside), so it’s important to find the right balance between the two. The good news is, I should be able to eliminate the pain by manipulating my use of orthotics in my athletic shoes, coupled with deep tissue foot massage and some special exercises involving the use of a towel.

But enough about my feet. Did I seriously just devote four whole paragraphs to that???

Let’s talk about the rest of the day. Turns out there is a hidden gem (at least it was not known to me until now) in Anacortes: the John Storvik Playground. It is amazing! I took Zander there to play this morning for about an hour and half while his daddy did some work in a coffee shop, and we had an absolute blast. Then we ran a few errands together, and Zander had a little nap in the car while I perused my new cookbook, Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook. After lunch, Zander returned to the playground with his daddy while I saw the podiatrist. He was so exhausted when we got home, that he fell asleep literally as we pulled into the driveway, and we carried him in and put him straight to bed.

Because we were on the road all day, I didn’t cook anything at home. However, I promised to post the recipe for yesterday’s Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip, and believe me, this one is worth making!! It is so good that you will want to drink it straight from the blender, but I highly recommend letting it chill in the fridge for at least a few hours (if not overnight) before diving in, if you can wait that long. Zander goes absolutely bonkers for this, served both of the following ways: (1) as a dip for baked lentil chips and/or strips of whole-grain toast, or (2) as a sauce over whole grain pasta.

This is another recipe that is really easy for kids to help with, because outside of sauteing the garlic and wilting the spinach, it really just involves putting a few ingredients into a blender and flipping the switch, much like making a smoothie. Anyway, here’s how you do it:

20111208-074240.jpg

SPINACH & CANNELLINI BEAN DIP

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic (minced)
10 oz baby spinach
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add ½ of the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

Place the spinach mixture, cannellini beans, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

CREDIT: Slightly adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network website.

If serving as a dip (with lentil chips, pita chips, etc.) or as a spread for sandwiches, chill in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight) for best flavor. If using as a pasta sauce, pour straight from the blender/food processor over warm pasta, and add other ingredients as desired (such as sautéed mushrooms, diced tomatoes, etc.).

Below are a few photos of Zander enjoying the fruits of his labor yesterday afternoon. I love to see him enthusiastically gobbling up something so healthy and packed with nutrients, and I also love the way his entire face (if not body) is covered in green by the time he is finished eating. I hope that you will try this recipe and love it as much as Zander and I do!

20111208-074250.jpg

20111208-074317.jpg

20111208-074328.jpg

20111208-074358.jpg

Advertisements

About Kim McCoy

Kim McCoy is a passionate animal and environmental advocate with a B.S. in Business Administration from UT Knoxville and a J.D. specializing in Animal and Environmental Law. She graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she served as Editor in Chief of the internationally acclaimed Animal Law Review and interned with the National Center for Animal Law and the International Environmental Law Project. Kim is a member of MENSA (the “high IQ society”) and previously worked for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a variety of roles, including Executive Director, Director of Campaigns, and Director of Legal Affairs. Kim is also the former Executive Director of the One World One Ocean Foundation and the proud mother of a healthy, thriving son who has been vegan since conception. Currently serving as Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, which protects wildlife and wild lands in Eastern Africa, Kim remains deeply committed to the defense of animals worldwide.
This entry was posted in Barefooting, Daily Life, Recipes, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Spinach Cannellini Bean Dip

  1. Aunt Julie says:

    Kim, the need to go barefoot is a critical component of your Southern heritage. As a kid, I wore shoes mostly when I went to church! Otherwise, the bottoms of my feet became leathery (sorry: I meant pleathery, of course!) in the summertime. Even here in New England, I wear shoes only when I absolutely have to do so. My friends laugh at me when I run outside barefoot to deposit the trash in its receptacle during the winter. So embrace discalceation! Join the ranks of the joyfully unshod!

    • Kim McCoy says:

      This is so totally true!!! I should have written that I resumed this habit in my adulthood after living in Japan, because I definitely spent my entire childhood and teenage years barefoot. It’s a lot warmer in TN most of the time than it has been in my subsequent places of residence. And the grass in our yard at home has always been nice and soft, even if I did wind up with squishy goose poop between my toes more times than I’d like to remember. I applaud you for braving the cold New England winter outdoors sans shoes–you are tough!!

  2. Aunt Julie says:

    PS: After looking at Zander’s “green around the gills” look, I’m wondering whether the spinach cannellini bean dip might be used as a moisturizer (olive oil content!) and astringent (lemon juice, too!) combined? This could be your great money-making idea for today: Spinach Cannellini Face Masque!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s